The Village Green
Later also called the 12th Street Park, the 112th Street Park, the Village Park, and the Lansingburgh Park.
The Green was the center of the street plan for the village of Lansingburgh that was laid out in 1771 by Abraham Lansingh. The Green was deeded to the village by Lansingh’s heirs in 1793. Most of the early religious and civic buildings, such as the First Presbyterian Church, built in 1793-94, and the original Lansingburgh Academy, built in 1796, were located facing the Green. As the village expanded to the north and south, other areas of the community were developed as centers of commercial and community activity, and the role of the Green as the hub of Lansingburgh diminished in importance. The Village Green, however, has survived as an open space, now used in part as a recreation field. It is one of the few eighteenth century public spaces remaining in New York State.
Waite, John G. The Architecture of Lansingburgh, New York. Lansingburgh, NY: Lansingburgh Historical Society, 1976.
We are requested to give notice that an address on the subject of temperance will be delivered to-morrow afternoon at 6 o’clock, on the green; and on Monday evening Mr. Gatchell will speak on the same subject at the Temperance Hall on Monday evening next. Mr. Gatchell is a very popular speaker, and we hope to see a crowded house.
Lansingburgh Democrat. September 6, 1845: 2 col 2.
We think it would add much to the appearance of the Green, if that rubbish left from the old Presbyterian Church, was taken away. It is a disgrace to that end of the village, and has lain there quite long enough, an unsightly mass, to be looked at and talked about. Was there nothing said respecting its removal by March last, in a certain contract. We think there was, and we think too, that those upon whom the duty falls, should be immediately required to remove it.
Lansingburgh Democrat. June 22, 1848: 2 col 2.
Tis said that “Necessity is the mother of Invention,” we believe it. We also believe that necessity sometimes causes a person to speak when otherwise he would be silent. Our reference at this time to the unsightly appearance of our village green is the product of necessity.
Without recurring to the circumstances of an hair breadth escape from a dislocated neck which had nearly been the portion of a friend, resulting from falling over a heap of bricks, &c., on a walk across the green, one rather dark evening, we can only wish that some “dire” necessity would be the “Inventress” of a plan, and put the plan into execution too, whereby that part of our village may be cleared out and made decent once more.
Instead of the green, (this is a misnomer, it rather ought to be called by any other color than green) being allowed to remain in its present condition, its worthless encumbrance of brick and mortar ought immediately to be removed and then the Green, (more properly) should be surrounded with a fence. Then it would be a fit receptacle for the delivery of political and temperance lectures—a good locality for meetings of every kind, and also parades &c., as fitting and convenient a place for any of the above purposes as may be found anywhere in the vicinity of Lansingburgh. We have once before referred to this subject and sincerely hope some kind of action will be taken so as to make further allusion to it unnecessary.
Lansingburgh Democrat. September 28, 1848: 2 col 2.
There is one house in town which contains a mixed population black and white, and affords a habitation for about a dozen families, all huddled together, in a state of squalid poverty. We refer to the “old academy” building, on the green.
The old house lies in ruin and wreck,
And the villagers stand in fear aloof;
The rafters bend, and the roof is black,
A bed of snow covers the roof;
The window panes are shattered out,
And the broken glass is lying about,
And the elms and poplars cast a shade
All day long on this colonnade.
Lansingburgh Democrat. December 28, 1848: 2 col 3. [The uncredited poem is from “The Deserted House” by Richard Henry Stoddard (1825-1903).]
The attention of the street inspector is invited to the condition of the public Green. Something must be done to beautify it, since it has been decided by high legal authority that the title of the village to the same is good. The rubbish and piles of brick and mortar should at once be removed, and some sort of paling erected to protect it from the depredations of cattle. It might be made a place our villagers would delight to resort to after the fatigues and toils of the day, and add a new attraction to the many which already adorn the ‘burgh.
Lansingburgh Democrat. June 13, 1850: 2 col 3.
Now that spring is approaching, is it not proper that the matter of selecting some spot in our village as a public square should be acted upon. Nothing is needed more by our mechanics and laboring classes, than some rural, sylvan retreat, where, after the labors and toils of the day, they can retire to breathe the fresh air, and listen with rapture to the soul-invigorating carols of the merry birds. By it, vigor is restored to the physical and mental energies, and man is prepared to enter again, with cheerful heart, upon the toils of the day. We are surprised that this has not been done before, but hope now to see the matter successfully acted upon.
Lansingburgh Democrat. January 29, 1852 2 col 3.
Thursday last was a gala day for our firemen. The weather was all that the most ardent heart could desire—not a cloud to mar the occasion, and the air of that genial warmth so delicious to experience. At 1 o’clock the fire companies mustered in full force, and were reviewed upon the public green.
Lansingburgh Democrat. November 2, 1854: 2 cols 5-6.
PROGRESSIVE—The Trustees have just finished the flagging of the side walk around the village pound. Would it not be a good idea to treat the village to a similar outlay. The treasury is over-stocked with money, and it must be depleted in some way. The tax-payers are good easy souls, and they will stand the shot. Progression is the order of the day under the present administration. Who’s afraid?
Lansingburgh Democrat. August 23, 1855: 2 col 3.
FIRE.—The old Academy Building, located upon the Public Green, was burned to the ground on Wednesday morning. It was old, dilapidated, and little worth. The firemen were promptly on the ground, but a difficulty in obtaining water prevented them from rendering any more service than to prevent the flames from communicating to the adjacent property. The building was occupied by several poor families, who are thus rendered houseless. We think the fire will have a savory effect upon the moral atmosphere of that locality.
Lansingburgh Democrat. September 18, 1856: 2 col 4.
One after another, the patriarchs of our village are departing. […] About all of the village lying north of the Phoenix Hotel has been built up under his own observation, while he could recount the history of all the different churches in town, and trace their progress from the congregation worshipping in a room in the old Academy building on the green, of which he was one, to the brick church edifice erected years ago in that vicinity, and on through the different changes up to their present favorable locations. Deacon Seelye planted with his own hands those stately elms which now adorn the public green.
Lansingburgh Democrat. July 16, 1857: 2 col 2.
Friday Evening, June 17, 1859. […]
A petition from J. M. Van Buskirk and other member of the Lansingburgh Cricket Club, petitioning the Trustees for the privilege of occupying so much of the public square as may be necessary for their use in playing Cricket, was received and read, and the prayer of the petitioners granted.
Lansingburgh Democrat. June 23, 1859: 2 col 7.
INDIANS.—Thursday night a party of Indians consisting of two men, two women, and several children, pitched their tent on our public Green, and are now engaged in manufacturing baskets for the market of the burgh. One of the men wears a heavy beard and moustache a thing seldom seen among this race.
Lansingburgh Democrat. July 14, 1860: 2 col 4.
AN ACT to amend section two of chapter eight of the laws of eighteen hundred and sixteen, passed February fourteenth, entitled “An act to confirm the sale of certain common lands, made by the trustees of the village of Lansingburgh,” and to provide for the fund therein mentioned.
PASSED May 3, 1884; three-fifths being present.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. Section two of chapter eight of the laws of eighteen hundred and sixteen entitled “An act to confirm the sale of certain common lands, made by the trustees of the village of Lansingburgh,” is hereby amended so as to read as follows:
§ 2. The consideration money, that is commonly known as the commonable fund, which was received by the trustees of the village of Lansingburgh, under said act, and consisting of about five thousand dollars, may be expended by the board of trustees of Lansingburgh, or their successors in office, in whole or in part, as such board shall direct, for the purpose of improving, preserving and beautifying the grounds in said village, known as the public grounds, situated between Hoosick [113th] and Lansing [112th] streets, and which are owned by said village of Lansingburgh, and are now open to commons.
§ 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
Laws of the State of New York. Albany, NY: Banks & Brothers, 1884. 283.
Communication from J. B. Hoag to furnish shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery or the park. Received and referred to park committee.
“Trustee Proceedings.” Lansingburgh Courier. February 13, 1885: 2 col 2.
—If it would not be a good idea to fence in the park for the winter and rent it to the lowest bidder for a skating park? The commonable fund might be replenished thereby, and in the spring the highest bidder could be given a contract to take down the fence, etc. Nothing like a long head, you know.
“What the Courier Would Like to Know.” Lansingburgh Courier. September 19, 1885: 3 col 4.
The village park is becoming a place of popular resort, and is liberally patronized. More seats are needed. The persons who will start a movement whereby concerts might be given there occasionally would be a public benefactor.
“Notes About Town.” Lansingburgh Courier. July 9, 1887: 3 col 2.
Bicycle riding in the village park was forbidden.
“Village Trustees Meeting.” Lansingburgh Courier. May 11, 1893: 3 col 2.
A committee consisting of Village President Skillman and Trustees Bolton and Roemer, was appointed with power to obtain and place in position cannon in the village park.
Bids were received for the painting of the fence about Powers Park and the fountain in the village park, and Trustee Green was empowered to investigate the bids and report at the next meeting.
“Lansingburgh.” Troy Daily Times. June 30, 1900: 4 col 4.
—Charles Wood has been authorized by the Village Trustees to secure cannon for ornamental purposes to be used in the village parks. There not being enough money in the treasury to purchase the cannon and Mr. Wood having offered to purchase the cannon and hold the cost as claim against the village, he was authorized to do so by the Trustees.
“Lansingburgh.” Troy Daily Times. November 14, 1900: col 3.
President Skillman reported that the mortar to be placed in the village park had arrived, and another cannon, weighing 7,200 pounds, had been secured. A resolution was adopted on motion of Mr. Gray that the sum of $150, or as much therefore as is required, be expended by President Skillman and Mr. Bolton, as a committee, to pay for transportation of the guns to Lansingburgh and placing them in position on suitable foundations in the village park between Thirteenth and Fourteenth Streets, and an audit was ordered drawn to them for the amount. On motion Clerk Miter was empowered to reindex the books and papers of the village at an expense not to exceed $100, the same to be done under the direction of the authorities of Troy.
“Upper Troy.” Troy Daily Times. January 2, 1901: col 3.
The six-inch cannon secured from the United States government by the old Board of Village Trustees arrived in this city yesterday from Fort Wadsworth, New York harbor. It will be stored with the mortar, which arrived about three weeks ago, and both pieces will be mounted in what was formerly the village park in the spring at the direction of ex-Village President Skillman and ex-Trustee Bolton, the committee appointed to take charge of the matter. The sum of $100 is at the disposal of the committee for that purpose.
“Upper Troy.” Troy Daily Times. January 15, 1901: 4 col 2.
—A meeting of Post Bolton [Grand Army of the Republic] will be held next week, when arrangements will be made for exercises to be held in connection with placing cannon in the village park at Twelfth Street.
“Upper Troy.” Troy Daily Times. May 18, 1901: 4 col 3.
A communication was received from William McCollum asking that the guns in the park in Upper Troy be painted and the grass trimmed, and also a communication from City Clerk Charles Hagen asking that supplies be furnished him. The Commissioner of Public Works was authorized to furnish the supplies.
Troy Times. April 18, 1902: col 1.
Playground Fete—Apparatus Purchase Considered […]
More than 1,000 attended the lawn fete of the Lansingburgh Playground Association on the Twelfth Street playground last evening. The event was a great success from every point of view, and more than $60 was netted. The playground was brilliantly illuminated for the occasion. Barnes & Payton furnished strings of hundreds of colored incandescent electric lamps. Japanese lanterns augmented the electrical display. The Beacon Electric Company installed the lights and furnished the current. Tables about the grounds were attended by the young ladies of the Community Club and the women of the several Lansingburgh organizations. A hurdy-gurdy contributed popular airs during the evening. In the centre of the lawn Messrs. Joseph Travers, Fred Lane, Thomas Hansbury, Jesse Haskins, William Dewey, E. Holt, George Prescott and Charles Joslin, members of the Komoka Club, were seated in a circle and gave additional musical entertainment. From refreshment booths ice cream and cake and lemonade were served. The booths were prettily decorated. Some of the donors who assisted in making the event successful are Seymour C. Hull, Dr. B. L. Shaw, William Clarkson, Charles Whipple, H. W. Wood and Charles W. Parks. Each contributed ice cream. The chairs and tables were furnished by S. Bolton’s Sons. The cake and lemonade were made by the women of the association. The officers of the association, John J. Mackrell, Arthur B. Cobden, David Anderson, Miss Elizabeth I. Douglass, Miss Kate E. Miter, Miss Louise Flagler, Mrs. William J. Shelliday and Miss Sarah Holbrook, directed the fete. […]
The Twelfth Street playground will have an addition to its apparatus tomorrow when the trapeze is placed in position. Two uprights have been set in the ground back of the tennis courts. From a cross-piece at the top will be suspended two ropes with rings in each. The Directors are considering the purchase of a new and elaborate piece of apparatus to be erected another year. It is a combination exerciser upon which 100 or more children can find amusement. It would cost about $700. The comfort station will be completed in the course of a month.
Troy Times. July 13, 1913: 6 cols 1, 2.
Making Twelfth Street Playground a Model Playhouse […]
The comfort station at the Twelfth Street playground will be completed in a few days, when the plumbers have put the finishing touches on the interior fittings. The building is one that has long been needed the playground workers having been seriously hampered during the last two summers by the absence of such a comfort station. The basement of the building will another summer furnish an ideal storage place for apparatus. The building is pretty and is substantially built of ornamental firebrick, with a copper roof and porticos of dark-stained oak. The playground will be opened next summer with better facilities, in so far as the comfort station is concerned, and it is probable that new apparatus will be added and the grounds improved. Should the hopes of the North End Playground Association be realized, the Twelfth Street playground will be one of the most modern in all particulars in the state. It is regretted by many that the construction of the comfort station was so long delayed that it could not be used last summer. It has been building since last June.
Troy Times. December 11, 1913: 6 col 1.
112th Street Playground.
Volleyball and croquet are the favorite afternoon sports at the 112th Street playground. The team from this playground which competed with the croquet team of Beman Park included Katharine Sheehan and Alice Cartwright. The older girls of Class C this week received instructions in English folk dancing. Next week the girls of Classes A and B will receive this instruction. The very young group at the playground this week enjoyed the circle games and story telling conducted by the managers.
“Tennis Popular with Crowds at Troy Playgrounds; Other Sports Also Appeal to Those in Attendance—Some of the Scores.” Troy Times. July 28, 1924: 5 col 2.
A toolhouse at the 112th Street Playground was damaged by fire yesterday afternoon about 5:30 o’clock. The cause of the fire was not determined. The blaze was extinguished by firemen from Pumper 11.
Troy Times. June 24, 1933: 3 col 1.
Annual Doll Show Conducted Yesterday Afternoon at 101st Street—Indian Pageant Presented By 112th Street Children.
More than 400 persons attended the annual doll show at the 101st Street Playgrounds yesterday afternoon and more than 70 girls took part in the program. Awards were presented as follows: Prettiest doll and carriage, first, Wilma Simon; second, Jeanne Cavanaugh, and third, Mary Alice Murray; best baby doll, first, Carol Kittley; second, Mildred Millett, and third, Betty Doyle; prettiest doll, first, Ruth Marco; second, Ruth Millett, and third, Myrtle Millett; largest doll, first, Helen Cahill; second, Patricia Schrette, and third, Catherine Wolf; smallest doll, first, Virginia Cooley, and second, Gerrude Zeiser; cutest doll, first, Margaret Van Wort; second, Joan Revillo, and third, Lois Dooley.
The feature of the show was the collection of unusual dolls. First award in this classification was given to Edith Osgood, who had a skating doll. Jean Follett received the second award for a doll dressed in lace and the third award went to Edith Revillo for a doll made of burdocks.
The judges were Mildred Baker, Mrs. William McNulty and Mrs. James Brown. Robert Anderson, Donald Michon and Mary Hart, the playground Supervisor, were in charge of the show. […]
A pageant, portraying in pantomime form the historical legend of Diamond Rock, was presented by children at the 112th Street Playground last evening. Miss Alma Falls, playground Director, read the story of the legend as the children took their various parts.
The players were: Indian Chief, Jean Breault; Chief’s Wife, Jeanne Sater; Taendara, Joseph Hoffman; Onosqua, Donald Kelleher; Scout, Frances Cardany, and the “enemies” Marion Manupella and James Chailfaux. The Mohawk warriors were Arthur Dubois, Catherine Hooley, Eileen Hooley, Jane Glasheen, Mary Glasheen, Helen Manupella, Joseph Manupella, Betty Rivage, Grace Condee, Lillian Kaiser and Helen Martin.
“Lansingburgh.” Troy Times. August 11, 1933: 2 cols 4-5.
Board Goes Pacifist. The Board of Aldermen also went pacifist last night. With one sweep of its legislative arm, it ordered the elimination of the artillery which has been keeping watch and ward over the Lansingburgh section these many years. The action was the result of the following resolution by Alderman [Paul H.] Jensen of the 15th [sic—16th] Ward:
“Whereas, The Ancient and Honorable Artillery of the village of Lansingburgh did adorn the village park between 112th and 113th Streets by the addition of one mortar of Civil War fame and one cannon of Spanish-American War fame; and
“Whereas, The carriages of these cannons are now deteriorated; and
“Whereas, The recreational facilities of the park are limited due to the space occupied by these cannon; therefore, be it
“Resolved, That the Commissioner of Public Works be authorized and directed to remove said cannon and dispose of them advantageously to the city.”
“City Will Renew Tax and Revenue Deficiency Notes; Several Lansingburgh Ordinances Adopted at Meeting Last Night.” Troy Times. May 18, 1934: 5 col 3.
REGISTRATIONS AT CITY PLAYGROUNDS 156,713 THIS YEAR
Total for Nine Play Sites 13,816 More Than During Last Season, Statistics Reveal.
Fifty-one thousand, six hundred and fifty-seven children were recorded at the three play sites in Lansingburgh. The 101st Street Playground was the third most popular playground in the city with registrations during the two month period of 23,159 and there were 5,288 at the 123rd Street Playground.
Times Record. September 5, 1935: 9 col 1.
PEANUT HUNT TO BE FEATURE AT ‘BURG PLAYFIELD
Event To Take Place at 112th Street Grounds Thursday; Other Recreational Activities.
A peanut hunt will be conducted at the 112th Street Playground Thursday morning. Several pounds of peanuts will be scattered around the playsite and the three children who gather the largest number in a specified time will be given prizes. […]
Will be Busy Next Week.
The playgrounds will be busy places during the coming week. At 126th Street, a doll show ill be held Tuesday evening. […]
Attendance at the city’s playgrounds was heavy this week, numbering 15,200 persons. Prospect Park again was the most popular play site with an attendance of 4,402 persons.
Monitors Next Week. […]
Monitors at the 126th Street Playground next week will be Jane Adams, Patricia Filkin, Beatrice Johnson, Kay Canavally, Jim Nish, Donald Gibbs, James Reid and Wayne Gibson.
Times Record. August 3, 1940: 18 col 4.
Editor The Record: On my travels through the city I have noticed many vacant buildings with many panes of glass broken. […]
The brick building in the 112th Street playground has been destroyed. The roof is full of holes, entrances are smashed and toilets are smashed. A brick wall was erected so boys could play handball. Bricks have been knocked out. The backstop used by softball players is smashed. In May, 1940, six benches were placed in this park. The next day one of these benches was stolen and other five were taken away by the city. In Powers Park ten newly painted benches were placed. They weren’t there 24 hours before boys began to carve their initials on them. […]
JAMES H. MALLOY.
“Pulse of the People.” Times Record. February 26, 1944:
OFFICIALS PROBE WORK OF VANDALS AT PLAYGROUNDS
“Sabotage” Believed Committed by adults; Police on Look-out
Troy police are concentrating on a serious epidemic of “sabotage” that has developed at the city’s playgrounds.
The most recent incident was the removal of sprinkler heads at the 112th Street playground. Also two benches were stolen and the wading pool was badly damaged at this playground.
Police are making every effort to catch the persons responsible as investigation has indicated that the vandalism is not the work of juveniles.
“It is deliberate vandalism, done by an adult or adults,” one official pointed out.
Similar instances of “sabotage” have been found at Prospect Park and Frear Park.
In Frear Park two drinking fountains were badly damaged.
In most instances heavy wrenches would have to be used to remove the missing parts. The damage is definitely not the work of children, police insist.
Always the damage is done after midnight, after the special park policemen complete their duty.
Times Record. July 16, 1945: 9 col 8.
UM-M-M-M—These children at the 112th Street playground enjoyed every minute of their combination hot dog and marshmallow roast last night at the playsite. While directors supervised, each had a chance at toasting a delicious tidbit over the fire. The site directors are Clara Quackenbush, Norma Donahue, Sally Rafter, Bernice Morrison, Jack Ray and Wynn Shudt.
Times Record. July 11, 1947: 13 cols 2-5.
ROUND AND ROUND WE GO—The merry-go-round always seems to be the one of the most popular pieces of equipment at any playground as is shown above at the 112th Street Playground. Summer activity programs are sponsored at the city’s playgrounds by the Troy Recreation Department. Four-year-old Charlie Dugan smiles as he gets the place of honor (the one that requires no pushing) on top of the merry-go-round. Counselor Carol Culvert stands at the rear.
Times Record. July 12, 1952: 18 cols 6-8. [photo]
VANDALISM—The work of destructive vandals is depicted in this picture taken at the 112th Street playground. The brick storehouse, used to keep equipment over winter months, has a huge hole ripped through one of the brick sides. Commissioner of Public Works J. Lee Quigley said today the damage is so great that the city will consider tearing the building down. The act of vandalism is one of a series perpetrated against various public properties in recent months.
Times Record. April 18, 1962: 21 cols 1-3.
Vandals Again Damage Uptown Park
City officials yesterday expressed anger and disgust over new acts of vandalism which have occurred at the 112th Street playground.
The Bureau of Parks said yesterday that several large holes 3 to 4 feet high had been cut in the heavy galvanized wire fence along the west side of the playgrounds.
Harvey Gardiner, assistant superintendent of parks, said that one of the city workmen had interrupted a youngster in the act of using a wire cutter to make one of the openings but that the youth ran away.
The fence was put up for the protection of little children and equipment at the park but the assistant superintendent pointed out that the wanton ripping of holes in the barrier reduces its effectiveness.
No estimate of the monetary loss involved has been made because it is not yet known how much fence it will be necessary to replace.
Times Record. May 15, 1963: 19 col 4.
NAMED PARK OF THE YEAR—The 112th Street playground is the park of the year in Lansingburgh. The counselors, standing, are left to right, Martha Baker, Maureen Kittrick, Jack Hogan and Craig Gilbert. On the teeters are Carleen McLaughlin, Sue Williams, Pamela Thayer and Michael Thayer.
Times Record. August 26, 1965: 5 cols 3-5.
Mobile Films Schedule Announced
Troy Recreation Dept. was showing films in the department’s mobile unit today at three Troy sites, William L. Carley, recreation commissioner, announced.
Thursday’s schedule will include showings at the South End Day Camp at 10 a.m., at Beman Park at 1 p.m. and at the 8th Street Unity House at 3:30 p.m.
Movies will be shown Friday at 10 a.m. at Knickerbacker Playgrounds, at 1 p.m. at Canal Avenue, east of 4th Street, and at 3:30 p.m. at Frear Park.
Movies were shown Tuesday at 112th Street, Prospect Park and at the Jack-in-the-Box area.
Carley said youngsters have responded enthusiastically to the mobile movies program and that they have been treated to a variety of cartoons, horror films and comedy movies.
Times Record. July 25, 1973: 35 col 4.